Some might say it’s something you’re born with, while others would say it’s something you strive for. For the millions of physically and visually impaired of this country, independence is something that dreams are made of.
South African Guide-Dogs Association understands the difference it makes to have the independence to live life to the fullest. They train guide dogs for people who are visually impaired, service dogs for people who are physically disabled and autism support dogs for children diagnosed with autism.
Grant Adams was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (a debilitating disease of the central nervous system) 15 years ago. “For about eight years life carried on as per normal, but the past few years of my life have become increasingly difficult as the MS has progressed,” says Grant, who is now bound to a wheelchair with a limited amount of mobility. He can no longer drive and enjoy life’s simple pleasures like walking.
Grant applied to the South African Guide-Dogs Association for a service dog. “After I submitted the application, I was visited and interviewed. The process was lengthy and extremely thorough,” he says. Nine months later Grant received the call to inform him that a trained 18-month-old dog was ready for him. The dog had been specifically trained to meet Grant’s individual needs. “Leon, a trained handler, and my new dog, Pringle, road tripped to Durban to meet me for the first time,” says Grant. Leon spent three weeks with Grant and Pringle, training and assisting to develop the new bond.
Pringle is trained to assist Grant with simple tasks like picking up or retrieving a dropped item and bark on command during an emergency. “Most importantly Pringle is my new best friend, providing me with companionship and everyday purpose,” says Grant.
The South African Guide-Dogs Association helps millions of impaired people in this country experience the freedom of independence that so many take for granted. To support this organisation please visit https://guidedog.org.za.